HOT: progress made and nice-to-haves

Posted by malenki on 9 October 2013 in English (English)

A text about HOT triggered by Harry Woods pre-SOTM report

The times I contributed to OSM using the HOT Task Manager I missed detailed instructions. As far as I understood HOT also instructs people who haven't mapped ever before to do mapping based on Aerial Imagery for HOT. What I missed (and thus would like to see):

  • explicit instructions what to map:
    ** only ways or
    ** only ways accessible by motor vehicles with four wheels (or more)
    ** also ways for pedestrians
    ** waterbodies (or not necessarily)
    ** buildings (or not necessarily)

For every feature wanted on the map there should be at least one example with a screenshot of the feature from Aerial Imagery and how to map it in OSM (in the editor, "select 'Highway', class 'Unclassified') and detailed description of the tags in usage: highway=unclassified; source=XYZ (when required)

Some tasks in 2012 didn't even have a description, some had with the things to map placed at "workflow".
The latest task mentions at "workflow" only what changeset comment to use - and only there. The objects to map for different tasks are collected on the Sudan Floods coordination page - and only there.
This hints for the workflow should be collected on one single place.

Since HOT tasks often are located in places the average mapperâ„¢ is not too well known to I'd also welcome

  • explicit instructions how to map features:

For example a lot of school buildings in Africa are just one or two buildings with metal roofs. If I'd see them in Aerial Imagery in southern Europe I'd surely identify them as stables. So, when the mapper never has been to Africa he should be helped to be able to identify and classify objects he is supposed to map. Though I think of myself as an mapper not too inexperienced I had some hard times mapping for HOT. Often I adapted what the majority of other mappers had created so far hoping that they did well and partly unified what a minority had mapped in a different way. Sure, the requests above require some effort from HOT but (IMHO) would make the mappers more confident about how and what to map.

Suggestion: At the Task Manager one should not only be able to mark a task as done or not done. There should be more levels like:

  • infrastructure missing
  • buildings missing
    If one wants to use both marks, well, use a grid of two colors or something alike. :)

Put a link to the IRC near the instructions like it is done done at the Sudan floods wiki page mentioned above. Since the Tasks are often done within a week or two, asking questions and wait for an answer in a forum would be consuming too much time.

One thing which got enhanced since I last mapped for HOT a lot was the possibility to add notes to the task marked as (in)complete. Back the one mapper could not see what notes other mappers added (iirc) - now this is possible.

Another thing: One time there was really bad imagery (very low contrast in Uvira) we had to work on. In December 2012 User Povaddict forked JOSM and added the possibility to enhance Bing Aerial Imagery by using two sliders via the layers context menu - a really awesome feature! Unluckily he didn't have the time to write clean code and thus this feature isn't available in JOSM... The binary you can find at my site since the original hosting doesn't exist anymore.

PS: As answer to Pieren's question an image of three combined screenshots from Uvira to show what I mean with "enhancing imagery": enhancing imagery in JOSM So far I haven't found this feature in the latest releases of JOSM. Please point me to it if i just missed it.

Comment from westis on 10 October 2013 at 06:46

To be able to mark what has been done, rather than simply "Mark as done" would be really nice. I'm working on this task:, but although it's mainly roads I usually also map rivers/streams, villages/hamlets etc. And there may also be different detail of roads, from big roads to small paths and to be able to check what detail of highway tags has been done in a square would help to come back later to add more detail.

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Comment from Pieren on 11 October 2013 at 09:55

Could you develop the "two sliders via the layers context menu" ? This is something already available in standard JOSM. So what is missing here ?

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